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John "Barney" Barnhill

John “Barney” Barnhill - Valley High School – Class of 1956

Athletic Hall of Fame Induction 2016

John “Barney” Barnhill was known by countless current and past students, parents, and community members as a coach and great supporter of Valley and Douglas County West High School athletics. However, many may not have known that Barney was a tremendous athlete in his own right. As a Valley Terrier, he earned eleven total letters; three in football, four in basketball, and four in tennis.  In general, his coaches described him as a very competitive, hard working, and team oriented athlete.

John was named 1st Team All Ak-Sar-Ben Conference as a quarterback and punter for the Terrier football team. His teammates described him as a tough runner with good quickness and a great arm. During his senior season of basketball, John broke the previously held single season school scoring record by scoring 283 points during the 1955-56 season.  However, John’s greatest success came on the tennis court. He led the Valley Terriers to the 1956 state team championship and was also the Class B singles champion that year.

After high school, John went to work at Western Electric (later Lucent Electric) for 30 years. He also served on the Valley School Board for 24 years and was a volunteer coach for the football and wrestling teams for over 50 years. Barney received the Nebraska Assistant Football Coach of the Year Award after the 1998 season.

Former Douglas County West Head Football and Wrestling coach Brant Loewe stated, “For over 50 years, Barney WAS Valley and DC West Football and Wrestling. It was a rare occasion when Barney was not at practice helping out with anything he could. From getting drills set up to coaching fundamentals, he was always there helping kids. His dedication and commitment to the football and wrestling programs spread across generations of Valley and DC West alum and will never be forgotten.” John was admired by staff and students alike. 2014 DC West Graduate Ty Heinert stated, “I was fortunate enough to have Coach Barney in high school wrestling and football. He loved coaching and all of the athletes. All of us knew and felt what a selfless, giving, and man-of-character he was. I am a direct result of what Coach offered and am now pursuing a degree in education and coaching in hopes that one day, I can have the same kind of impact on kids that he had on me.”

Unfortunately, John “Barney” Barnhill passed away in the spring of 2014. His family will receive this Hall of Fame honor on his behalf. Please welcome John “Barney” Barnhill to the Douglas County West Athletic Hall of Fame.